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Providing Christian Care Through Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry training begins this fall in partnership with three Methodist churches in the surrounding area  - Vista Ridge UMC, Coppell UMC, and Aldersgate UMC, to offer training for individuals desiring to develop their care-giving skills, and serve their local church  after completion of the training.  Do you have gifts of service and lay care-giving?  Are you a good listener?  What do Stephen Ministers do? 
  • Pray for and meet with another person who is going through a difficult time or life situation, and has requested the presence of a caring Christian friend.  The Stephen Minister is there to listen – not to be a counselor or give advice.
  • Keep the Stephen Ministry compass in the forefront when caring for another – as a reminder to be compassionate, full of faith, skilled and trustworthy, allowing the presence of Christ to work through you and provide comfort for the person receiving care.
  • Agree to be accountable to one another, and to their local church in providing the best Christian care possible. 
Aldersgate UMC has been a Stephen Ministry congregation since 2005, and we are again looking for individuals with a desire to serve one another in the body of Christ through this ministry.  
The role of a Stephen Minster has been described in a variety of ways, but perhaps none better than this one by a woman named Evelyn Underhill – “We offer ourselves to work for God.  We desire to be among the sheep dogs employed by the Good Shepherd.  Have you ever watched a good sheep dog at work?  He goes about his job steadily, and takes no account of bad weather, rough ground, or of his own comfort.  He seldom or never stops to be stroked.  Yet his faithfulness and intimate communion with his Master are one of the loveliest things in the world.

Now and then he looks at the Shepherd, never losing track of Him.  And when the time comes for rest, they are generally to be found together.  Let this be the model for your love.”
If you desire to learn more about participating in the life-changing training being offered this fall, and using your care-giving skills in service at Aldersgate UMC, contact the church office and let Pastor Lyle or Vic Sassone, Lay Leader, know of your interest.  Classes are forming soon!  The last time this training was offered was two years ago when twenty five Stephen Ministers were commissioned for service in their local churches!

For more information on Stephen Ministry or the upcoming training, contact Barbara Henderson at Bhenderson709@yahoo.com.  She will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


 


“God is love and he who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.”  -- 1 John 4:16

About Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry at Aldersgate United Methodist Church is a response in faith to Jesus’ commandment to love one another. It is the body of Christ in action - through one-to-one caring relationships, building up one another in love, so that all people who are in need of the love, care or support of a caring Christian friend are able to receive it. We all have times in our lives when circumstances may seem overwhelming, when we are in pain (physical or emotional), or when we just desire the company of an understanding friend.

Our Mission

“We, the Stephen Ministry team at Aldersgate UMC, desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people in our church and community, by creating a Christ-centered environment where all can experience God’s presence through His unconditional love, His nurturing spirit, and His healing power. For Christ is our hope, and “we have this hope as an anchor for our lives“ (Hebrews 6:12).

Our Vision

Stephen Ministry increases our love for one another, as we seek to care for and to serve not only the needs of our members, but also to broaden our outreach into the community, where all can experience God’s presence through ...
 
- His unconditional love …
Stephen Ministry helps to create a “caring ministry explosion”, where many instead of a few are offering God’s love and care in intentional, systematic ways. Stephen Ministers help to create a “safe space”, where Care Receivers are free to express their needs and concerns in a warm, caring, and nonjudgmental atmosphere. Care Receivers can be assured that their confidentiality will be maintained, through the process and structure of Stephen Ministry.
 
- His nurturing Spirit …
Stephen Ministry helps enable our entire congregation to grow as a warm, loving, nurturing community, where people are cherished and cared for in Jesus Christ.
 
- His healing power …
Recognizing that while Stephen Ministers are CAREgivers, Christ is the CUREgiver. Spiritual growth and healing come through the power of the Almighty alone, as He works in and through Care Receivers and their Stephen Ministers. Stephen Ministers rely upon the providence of God - waiting on the Lord for guidance and for healing to take place — in His way and in His time.

Who are Stephen Ministers?

Stephen Ministers are God’s caring hands and listening ears. They are lay men and women from our congregation who have 
developed their gifts for sharing Christ’s love and concern with others, through one to one caring relationships. If you have ever wondered what to say to a friend or loved one who is hurting or facing a difficult time, and wanted to comfort them but did not know how, you might be interested in the training that Stephen Ministers receive. While they are not professional counselors, they are excellent listeners! We currently have several commissioned Stephen Ministers serving at Aldersgate UMC. They are MelanieHarris, Barbara Henderson, Tess Rogers, and Tim Howard.
 
Extensive training is provided through the resources of the worldwide Stephen Ministry organization — a nondenominational ministry headquartered in St. Louis, which has been equipping lay people for distinctively Christian caregiving for over 30 years. Stephen Ministers must complete 50 hours of training prior to their commissioning. After commissioning, Stephen Ministers and Leaders together participate in ongoing continuing education, covering a variety of topics and skills, and participate in monthly small group peer supervision. Stephen Ministers continually strive to be compassionate, full of faith, skilled in caregiving, and trustworthy.
 

Stephen Ministry Leader Team

Stephen Leaders are individuals who have attended a weeklong intensive training seminar on Stephen Ministry, and have been commissioned to serve by their congregation. Stephen Leaders promote, develop and maintain Stephen Ministry in their congregations. Their service includes prayer, training of Stephen Ministers, participation in continuing education and small group peer supervision. Aldersgate’s Stephen Leader is Barbara Henderson.
 
Having someone to care, to listen, and to share God’s love, is what Stephen Ministry is about. Here at Aldersgate UMC, your concerns are really listened to and taken seriously! For more information about our Stephen Ministry program, contact any of our Stephen Ministry Leader Team.

To Meet With a Stephen Minister

To arrange to meet with a Stephen Minister, for yourself, or to refer the name of someone you know who might benefit from this program, please contact our Referral Coordinator, Pastor Lyle Benson at 972-492-9393, or by email. It is recommended, when possible, before referring the name of another person, to first obtain the person’s permission.

Becoming a Stephen Minister

Searching for a new ministry opportunity in our congregation? Stephen Ministers bring distinctively Christian care to those in need. They use both words and deeds to express Christ’s care for others – listening and comforting, calling on the training they have received and employing the tools of faith. If this job description fits your personal goals for ministry, consider becoming a Stephen Minister. Training begins soon. For more information call Barbara Henderson at 972-394-7155 or by email.
 
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  -- Galatians 6:2
 

How You Can Help

  • Pray for our Stephen Ministers & Leaders as they provide Christian care to others.
  • Pray for all who are receiving confidential care through the Stephen Ministry in our congregation.
  • Tell others about the availability of our congregation’s Stephen Ministry.
  • Inform others about the type of care that Stephen Ministers can provide.
  • Receive Stephen Ministry when you are in need of supportive Christian care.
  • Prayerfully consider serving as a Stephen Minister.
 
To find out more about the Stephen Ministry, please visit the Stephen Ministries website